Difference between Project Management and Program Management

There is confusion between the term project management and program management. Although, the words seem similar there are some differences.

Project management is the act of creating plans and managing resources in order to accomplish a project. A project is a scheduled undertaking for the purpose of creating a product or service. Program management, on the other hand, is the act of creating and managing multiple projects, most of the projects are usually related to one another.

Project management is usually short-lived with specific time constraints while program management is an ongoing process in order to achieve the goals and objectives.

The job of a project manager usually involves working on finite projects or objectives. The program manager works more often with strategy.

A project management team works to identify the triple constraint of time, scope and cost of a project. Then, they plan and report on the delivery of the project. While the project is being accomplished the triple constraint is reviewed. At it’s close, the project management team will review and report on the accomplishment of the project.

A program management team works to identify the mission, projects to be accomplished, and it’s close. The team provides support for the requirements of the projects. They monitor the program plan and keep track of information within the specific projects. After the completion of the project, it is reviewed and documented.

PMI and IPMA Certifications

Two premiere project management organizations, the International Project Management Association (IPMA) and the Project Management Institute (PMI), have been facilitating first-rate project management services since the mid nineteen sixties. These organizations serve businesses needs on a local and global scale. In order to best suit a businesses needs, the IPMA and the PMI use various and different means to certify the most qualified talent pool. But there are differences in the testing procedures between the IPMA and the PMI. First off, the testing procedures for the International Project Management Association are broken down into levels. Level A is the highest achievable certification. The title for a Level A certification is Certified Projects Director. Next is Level B. It’s proper title is Certified Senior Projects Manager. Level C is refferd to as a Certified Projects Manager. And finally, a Level D certification is called Certified Project Management Associate. Now we shall look into the certification procedures of the PMI.

The Project Management Institute uses testing and work hours completed as a judge of potential candidates for certification. They have three different levels of certification. First is the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). Second is the Program Management Professional (PgMP). The last certification offered is the Project Management Professional (PMP). The PMP was recently accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This may give its holders a very competitive edge. The Institute also requires its PMP certified members to maintain their membership status by completing Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR). These world-class project management organizations have been on the cutting edge for over forty years. With the varied but rigorous certification programs they employ, these organizations will stay on the cutting edge for years to come.

How has Project Management changed in a Web 2.0 world?

The role of a Project management in the past was to coordinate the efforts of a group of individuals working toward a common goal. This was accomplished through a variety of tools, such as teleconferencing, meetings, white board sessions, and printed project status reports. A Project Manager lived with a phone glued to his or her ear.

A Web 2.0 world didn’t change the role of project management, but it did simplify, and in most cases, increase efficiency. A project manager in a Web 2.0 world can conduct meetings via web conference, can create a common project workspace that automatically tracks changes, and can keep a record of conversations via e-mail correspondence. But additional social networking capabilities add the ability to coordinate talent around the globe to focus on a project. So while the project manager may be based in Silicon Valley, he can utilize the talent of a programmer in New York, a marketing maverick in Dallas, a graphic designer in Orlando, and other talent scattered around the world meeting in one portal.

Additionally, with increased globalization, a smart project management team can work during “normal” business owners to solidify concepts, and send the entire project to an outsourced team of MBA’S in India to continue the work, so that when they show up the next morning during “normal” work hours, the project has advanced by a day or more! A Web 2.0 world can increase productivity almost exponentially.

This ability does require a strong hand in the project management team, with superior organization skills, but all of those tools are available online as well.

Social Project Management

An interesting presentation about Social Project Management by Leisa Reichelt:

She gave this presentation at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, and her main interest is to find

ways that we can break down monster projects into micro projects and be more iterative in the way that we work, and to work more collaboratively with teams that are made up of multiple disciplines

I am not sure whether I would agree with all the points she makes here but I definitely like the idea of breaking down projects which was called “staged delivery” before we came to the Web 2.0 world 🙂

Problems in the Project Team

Most of the team-work results in the cancellation or a delay of the project because of the disfuntionality of the team and the team leader. However, there are steps that can be taken for the effective team results:

  • Leaders and the team have to follow the right behavior.
  • Leaders have to clearly define roles and expectations right from the beginning.
  • For better communication, individual meetings with team members are very essential.
  • Understanding each other well among team members will help in creating trust, more responsibility etc., for solving problems.
  • Every team member needs to commit to the project and the team as well as the desire to improve one’s own performance.
  • Leader should set a goal, create follow-up meetings, and communitcate that deadlines have to be strictly followed.
  • The leader has to set a mission statement and to develop communication strategies for his team.
  • Young professionals should be included in a team for the better usability of mixture of ideas.

A problem in the team project should be solved through the way of conducting productive meetings and discussions of the problem by all team members in order to find out the proper solution. Proper commitments and strategies must be applied to the whole team so that it will end up with better team results.